Seneca County

Ironwood Steak House to open in June

IronwoodA new restaurant, called the Ironwood Steak House featuring the Black Birch Bar, is planning to open in mid-June. The restaurant combines atmosphere and high-quality cuisine to provide an upscale dining experience in a comfortable setting. Located at the private Mohawk Golf and Country Club, the Ironwood is open to the public.

The menu is still being finalized but will feature traditional steakhouse fare and limited-time specials. The remodeled kitchen also boasts a broiler to quick-sear steak with infrared heat – technology used in many high-quality steak establishments. Local Chef Jimmy Jones, with more than 20 years in restaurant experience, will be heading the kitchen.

The dining room overlooks the golf course, providing beautiful views of the green through a wall of windows. There is also a private dining area that can be closed off for private events, and limited outdoor accommodations. Together, they seat roughly 140, with an area that could be used for small entertainment. Additionally, patrons can enjoy the Black Birch Bar, a full-service bar with a lounge area, located at the entrance of the establishment.

The Ironwood is the product of a partnership of more than 40 investors looking to bring a high-end steakhouse to Seneca County. The restaurant has been in the works for quite some time, with investors split into committees for everything from marketing to personnel, to get to the finished product.

At opening, the Ironwood will serve dinner Wednesday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Reservations can be made using OpenTable. Outside events can also book the Ironwood Catering Service.

A sneak peek at renovations:

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Obtaining a liquor permit

Department of Commerce SealThinking about starting a business that involves liquor sales, or adding liquor sales to an existing business? Here are some of the basics of filing for a liquor permit in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Commerce Liquor Control Division is the state agency responsible for liquor licensing.  They issue new licenses and annual renewals, as well as transfers, for the 25,000 private Ohio businesses that are alcohol manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and organizers of special events where alcohol is sold.

There are several different types of liquor permits depending on use, and a limited number of each type of liquor permit is available to each county/city based on population. A complete list and explanation of what is covered under each specific permit can be found here. You can check the availability of the permit you would like to request here, and search the database of permit holders here.

Once you have determined which permit you will need and its availability, you can fill out an application. There are two applications: new bar, restaurant or carryout (application here) and all other types of permits (application here). The Division provides a complete guide to the application process here.

Special permits available in downtown Tiffin:

In 2013, the City of Tiffin established a Community Revitalization District with the Division of Liquor Control, which created 15 liquor permits available within the downtown Tiffin district. These D-5L permits are restricted to the approved district and carry several requirements, the most notable of which is that the establishment be a retail food or food service business, serving beverages by the glass for consumption on premises, and whose food/meal receipts total at least 75% of sales. The addresses included in the district can be found here, and the requirements, as stated by the Ohio Revised Code, here.

Feasel’s invests quarter million in expansion

Feasel's 4Feasel’s Frame and Collision is adding new space and equipment to their auto-body shop on State Route 224 just West of Tiffin.

Jeff Feasel said the business needed new space, and they wanted the ability to offer more to their customers. “Over the last five years, each year has been better than the last,” he said.

20170421_134130The new, 3,600 square foot building will create seven additional bays for radiator repair and washing, house a new alignment rack, and provide additional work space. They will also use the space for spray-on truck bed liners, a service that no other Tiffin shop currently offers. The total investment in construction and equipment is roughly $250,000.

This new addition is the latest in a series of improvements to the business. Over the past four years they have installed a new, environmentally friendly paint booth, renovated their office, and added welding and aluminum repair to their services.

“I am excited to keep serving this wonderful community,” Feasel said.

The expansion is expected to be completed this July.

Feasel’s Frame and Collision is a family-run business started by Jeff’s parents, Rick and Jan, in 1984. To learn more about the business, click here.

Bascom Communications announces Full Throttle fiber optic internet service

20170420_083420.jpgBascom Communications announced last week a new, ultra high speed internet service provided via fiber optic line. They are the first company to offer such a service in Seneca County.

Press release provided by Bascom Communications:

Communications Company Offers New Service Over Fiber Optic Infrastructure
Bascom Communications Delivers Service Announcement and Presentation for Accelerate Full Throttle

Bascom, Ohio: Bascom Communications hosted an event to announce Accelerate Full Throttle, the service provider’s newest offering available to members May 1st. Full Throttle offers Gigabit-capable access over Bascom’s state-of-the-art, fiber-to-the-premise infrastructure, featuring faster download speeds and aggregate bandwidth. The service announcement and presentation on the social and economic impact of how fiber optic and Gigabit service from Bascom is propelling Seneca County forward took place on Thursday, April 20, 2017 in the historic Redwood Ballroom of Meadowbrook Park in Bascom, Ohio.

Bascom Communications has provided services to Bascom and surrounding communities since 1906. Bascom is a cooperative company and anyone with wired services becomes a member. Once a member, if Bascom has a strong year and posts a profit, the membership receives an allocation back to them in the form of capital credit refunds. Bascom serves around 59 square miles of service territory and covers 99.92% of its subscribers with fiber to the premise.

Bascom is one of only a couple providers in the entire state of Ohio, and the only in Seneca County, to offer a service of this magnitude. Many companies use Gigabit service as a marketing ploy but Bascom wants to have people utilize it. To accomplish this, Full Throttle features a metered-usage approach to bring down costs, which allows customers to pay for only what they need and never worrying about speed again, as opposed to traditional internet plans that utilize a smaller bandwidth model to keep costs and resources manageable. Residential customers will be able to choose between numerous, tiered-data plans including an unlimited option, while business customers who want and need it, can improve their productivity and efficiency with Accelerate Full Throttle Business Unlimited. Customers will be able to go as fast as their devices will let them and can and will in many cases see speeds up to 16-200 times faster than those they are used to currently through Bascom or their competition.

Select Realty merges with Bolte Real Estate

Press release from Bolte Real Estate

North Central Ohio Real Estate Firm Attains Tiffin Company

new nameBolte Real Estate, a fourth-generation, independently owned company based in Port Clinton, is pleased to announce its merger with Select Realty Group in Tiffin. With four offices currently throughout Ottawa and Sandusky Counties, the merger allows Bolte Real Estate to expand into the Seneca County area and strengthen its presence as a real estate leader in this region of Ohio.

Founded by Ann Bolte in 1936, Bolte Real Estate has maintained its commitment to excellence by taking a personal approach with its customers. With offices in Port Clinton, Clyde, Fremont and Catawba, the company has grown to become the largest independent brokerage in North Central Ohio.

Phillip Bolte and Renee Bolte-Stine, Ann’s great-grandchildren and current owners, bought the company in 2014 and have built a state-of-the-art real estate company while maintaining the family heritage and providing a distinctive personal approach to their business. In 2016, Bolte Real Estate achieved $93 million in real estate sales.

“What excites us about this merger is the opportunity for greater brand recognition throughout the region and access to more tools, training and a larger leadership team,” said Phillip Bolte.

“Also, we feel that our merger will allow us to better help our clients ever growing and evolving real estate needs while also giving back to the communities we represent.”

Co-owner Renee Bolte-Stine is a Tiffin native who graduated from Columbian High School in the early 1990s, along with her husband Cory Stine. “For my family, Tiffin is a part of our heritage so the expansion of Bolte Real Estate into this area is exciting from a business aspect and rewarding on a personal level,” said Renee Bolte-Stine.

Select Realty Group’s office at 23 S. Washington Street will remain open and the only noticeable change will be the name on the building. Owners Fran Andersons and Sara Riesen founded Select Realty in April of 2012 with three agents and quickly grew to be a dominant name in local real estate. Today, there are nine agents who work for Select. Both Fran and Sara will remain in leadership positions once the merger is complete.

Sara Riesen explained that even though the name Select Realty will change, their commitment to their clients will not. “Our team will remain the people that the community has come to know and trust,” she said.

All owners agree that the merger of Bolte Real Estate and Select Realty Group evolved because of a mutual respect among professional colleagues who became friends. Sara explained, “I’ve known Phillip and Renee for a long time but got to know Phillip even better when we served on the board of directors for the Firelands Realtor Association. They were very helpful to us when we began our business, offering advice and support. When the discussion eventually turned to the possibility of ‘teaming up’, it seemed like a natural fit for all of us.”

Philip added, “Our philosophy of working hard, treating people right and having fun will be strengthened by having a larger team across a larger area engaged in the real estate business and committed to our family’s heritage of excellence.”

Tiffin Aire at the Seneca County Airport

20160907_151604Tiffin Aire, Inc. is the company that runs the Seneca County Airport, located at 1778 W US 224 in Tiffin. The company is owned by Brad and Kim Newman, the second generation of the family-owned business. The airport is a unique asset for Seneca County and Northwest Ohio.

The Seneca County Airport is a 24-hour fueling station, a propeller shop, an airplane storage location, an FFA pilot examination location and testing center, an aircraft sales location (one of only three in Ohio), a chartered flight provider and more. The business has 33 employees including pilots, front office, and technically skilled positions in the airplane frame and propeller shop.

The company was established in 1965 and dedicated in 1968 by Kim’s parents, Dwight and Jeanne Gnepper. It began with only three employees, two single engine aircraft, two hangars, and an office. Over the years, the Gneppers expanded the business, selling it to the Newmans upon their retirement in 1989. By 1996 Tiffin Aire offered aircraft charter, flight instruction and rental, aircraft sales, aircraft maintenance, parts and oil sales, and propeller/governor sales and service.

Tiffin Aire is one of only 13 propeller shops in the entire country. The prop shop was built in 1997 for $750,000, with another $500,000 in equipment. They service all kinds of propellers, and perform inspections and mandatory “overhauls” every six years. There are no chemicals used to strip the paint from the parts, reducing waste, and all grinding of the blades is done by hand.  They are also able to repair wings, and about once a year, they restore an antique aircraft, like an airplane from the 1940’s sent down from Canada that is currently in one of their hangar bays.

The airport currently has 18 separate hangars, the most recent built in 2015 for $400,000. There are 52 planes based in Tiffin, and storage at the Tiffin Aire facility includes oil, fuel, service and a private hangar. Brad says a lot of their business used to come from local business owners keeping their own private planes, however, that is not the case today.

Over the last several years, they have seen their charter business grow. “We have a great location for people coming into town, or stopping over for repairs,” he said. “We’ve got a great network with the businesses in Tiffin, and customers can walk to local restaurants and stores.”

One way Brad would like to increase traffic to the airport and to Seneca County is through a runway expansion. The current runway is 4,000 linear feet. In order to entertain commercial flights, it would need to be expanded to 5,000 feet. The closest airport able to accommodate commercial flights is in Findlay, which does not offer as many services as the Seneca County Airport. “We’d all benefit from a longer runway,” Brad said.

While the runway expansion is in the works, it could be years before the project begins.

Another way the airport benefits the community is through the Federal Excise Tax. For every gallon of airplane fuel sold, 21.9 cents goes to a tax fund that can only be used for airport improvements. This tax applies whether you purchase fuel at an airport, or if you purchase a ticket on a commercial airline. Since 1989, Brad has collected $4 million from that fund, which provides a 90/10 split on improvements, saving the county money as well as bringing funds spent by citizens back to Seneca County.

Brad attributes the business’ success to great community support, and giving back to the community. “I always tried to make my own way and didn’t ask too much,” he said. “And I always supported our local companies and vocational schools.”

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NCOESC is Awarded Grant for Public Safety Services

Press release from NCOESC:ncoesc

The North Central Ohio Educational Service Center (NCOESC) was awarded a $163,000 grant from Ohio’s Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program. The Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA), along with the Local Government Innovation Council, informed NCOESC that the grant application was approved.

The IT Safety Project includes computer equipment and new fiber lines to enhance the safety of our local communities. The collaborative partners include NCOESC, North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments (NCORcog), Seneca County, the City of Tiffin and the villages of Attica, Bettsville, Bloomville, Green Springs, New Riegel and Republic.

The Local Government Innovation Council provides funding in two ways: Local Government Innovation Program (LGIP), which offers loan assistance to communities for plans, and projects that create more efficient service delivery at the local level; and Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program (LGSC), which offers communities assistance to enhance public safety. Together, these programs assist communities with shared services and efficiency projects in all aspects of operations.

NCOESC and NCORcog were also successful with a $100,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study regarding Information Technology Connectivity. After the review of the study, a $500,000 no-interest loan was awarded to subsidize the implementation of the study.

According to David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program, provides opportunities to enhance public safety. Goodman stated, “Communities are working together to improve their safety service and save taxpayers money.”

NCOESC’s Superintendent/CEO, Dr. Jim Lahoski, was very pleased that this grant opportunity will provide additional revenues to the community. Lahoski stated, “The efforts made by NCORcog Director, John Davoli, along with NCOESC Information Technologists Kathy Mohr and Brian Rupp, demonstrate a wonderful spirit of cooperation between the NCOESC and many political subdivisions of Seneca County.” He further expressed appreciation to local law enforcement officials that provided vital information to complete the successful application.

Director Davoli stated, “This grant will provide collaborative opportunities to work with officials from Seneca County, the City ofTiffm, all Seneca County villages and SIEDC.” Davoli indicated that the next step will be to meet with all the partners and to set a timeline for the work to begin the initial phase and that NCOESC will continue to pursue additional funding to complete the project.

The Local Government Safety Grant Program is a highly competitive grant that had over 400 applicants in this second round with only 10% of the applications funded.

Fostoria #10 most affordable place to live in Ohio

smartasset2_1000x563_2-4-2014Fostoria was recently ranked the number 10 most affordable place to live in Ohio, according to a study by SmartAsset, a financial calculation firm.

Every year, researchers consider closing costs, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage rates over five years among cities with a population of more than 5,000, then see how those figures fit with the communities’ median household income.

This year, Northwest Ohio claimed three of the top 10 slots with Fostoria in the number 10 spot, joining Delphos (#3) and Northwood (#7). Check out the complete SmartAsset study here.

Fostoria is not the only affordable place to live in Seneca County. In 2014, the cost of living in Tiffin was about 20% below the national average, and in 2016 it was listed one of the 20 Most Affordable College Towns.

Seneca County in Top 10 for economic development in US

site-selection-magazine-march-2017Earns second such ranking in four years

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 2, 2017 – The Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) announced today that Seneca County has again placed in the top ten nationally on Site Selection Magazine’s rankings for large, private economic development projects – placing tenth out of the 576 micropolitans in the US for the honor. Site Selection has been annually ranking states and cities since 1978.

This is the sixth year in a row that the Tiffin micropolitan area has ranked in the top 100 nationally and the fifth year for ranking in the top ten percent. Qualifying projects must involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create at least 20 new jobs, or add at least 20,000 sq. ft. of new floor area. Six Seneca County projects qualified for Site Selection, including expansions at Arnold Machine, Church and Dwight, Owens Corning, Tiffin Metal Products, Poet Energy, and Mennel Milling.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz cited partnership as a driver of economic development for the county. “Having the city, county and economic development organizations in sync plays a key role in keeping us at the top of development, expansion, investment and employment,” he said. Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler agreed, “We are pleased with the economic development progress we see going on in Fostoria and in Seneca County. This is a great honor.” Seneca County Commission President Mike Kerschner agreed: “Throughout the county we are seeing record growth in all sectors. The climate for all business and overall quality of life improves with each addition.”

This year, Ohio ranked as the number two state for development projects and the entire Northwest Ohio region posted strong numbers, with Findlay taking the number one micropolitan slot, Defiance tying with Seneca County for tenth, and Toledo ranking seventh in its division. “Northwest Ohio has built incredible momentum over the past few years,” said Dean Monske, President & CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership in Toledo. “National recognition is a testament to the fact that the region is an excellent area to locate or expand a business and to the hard work of our partners in economic development as well as public officials.”

A press release from Site Selection magazine and a complete list of the top 100 micro- and metropolitans is can be found here and more information can be found at siteselection.com.

About SIEDC
Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.senecasuccess.com.

First annual Local Job Fair set for March 10

job_fair_imageThe Tiffin City Schools Business Advisory Council is sponsoring a job fair on March 10 at Tiffin Columbian High School. The primary purpose of the fair is to assist high school seniors who don’t plan to attend post-secondary classes in the fall.  It is also an opportunity for those who do plan to continue their education to learn about employers who will have a need to hire individuals with the skills they will be learning.  In addition, this event will get 8th graders thinking about their futures and give them the opportunity to learn about local career opportunities and the skills and education they will need to succeed.

The agenda is as follows:

10-11am:  8th graders from the Tiffin Middle School will meet with the employers

11am-12pm:  Lunch

12pm: Columbian seniors will arrive

1-2:30pm:  High school seniors from 10 other area schools will be in attendance

2:30-4pm:  Heidelberg and Tiffin University students have been invited and community residents will also be able to attend

There is space for approximately 50 tables and to date 30 Seneca County employers have responded to express an interest in attending.  To reserve a table, contact Pat Smith at Tiffin City Schools at 419-447-2515.

Students should bring a resume and be prepared for a brief introduction interview.

The Business Advisory Council is committee of the Tiffin City Board of Education and is comprised of people from industry, retail, public relations and journalism, medical fields, construction, government agencies along with parents and educators from elementary through higher education. Members look at the trends in the community, employment needs, and other issues to develop a plan that helps students become career ready.  Together they develop curriculum and/or study existing curriculum and activities that would teach necessary skills, career awareness, and economic knowledge while preparing the students to be good citizens. Meetings began in February 2016 and accomplishments include:

  • Implemented the REACH program for the TCS 4th-6th graders
  • Created student advisory committees at the middle school and high school
  • Have plans for Camp Invention this summer
  • Have plans to implement the STRIVE program for high school students at risk to not graduate (Coordinated with the Tiffin Rotary Club).